Annual Report: Pakistan 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Pakistan 2013

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  • On several occasions during the year, the Peshawar High Court ordered investigations into the more than 100 bodies found dumped across Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
  • Muzaffar Bhutto, leader of an ethnic Sindhi political party, was found dead on 22 May in Bukhari village near Hyderabad, Sindh, after he was abducted by men in plain clothes accompanied by police 15 months earlier. His body reportedly bore torture marks and bullet wounds but no one was brought to justice for his abduction or killing.

Enforced disappearances

The Supreme Court was granted unprecedented access to some victims of enforced disappearances, including seven surviving members of the “Adiala 11” in February, and several others from Balochistan throughout the year. The Chief Justice threatened to order the arrest of law enforcement personnel for failing to provide a legal basis for arrests and detentions in Balochistan, and the Peshawar High Court continued to pressure the authorities to provide details of all individuals held in security detention in the northwest tribal areas. However, reports of enforced disappearances continued across the country, especially in Balochistan province and the north-west tribal areas; no serving or retired security personnel were brought to justice for their alleged involvement in these or other violations. The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances made its first ever visit to the country in September, but key officials refused to meet them, including the head of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and most High Courts, and senior security and military representatives.

  • The body of Baloch Republican Party leader Sangat Sana was found dumped on the outskirts of Turbat, Balochistan, on 13 February. More than two years earlier, he was seen being taken by several men in plain clothes at a police roadblock at the Bolan Pass on the Quetta-Sindh highway.

Abuses by armed groups

The Pakistani Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Balochistan Liberation Army and other armed groups targeted security forces and civilians, including members of religious minorities, aid workers, activists and journalists. They carried out indiscriminate attacks using improvised explosive devices and suicide bombs.

  • The Pakistani Taliban announced a ban on health workers in the tribal areas until the USA ceased its programme of “targeted killing” there. An ICRC nurse was killed in April. Nine mostly women health workers administering polio vaccinations were killed in co-ordinated attacks in Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda in the north-west, and the southern city of Karachi over three days in December.
  • Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the execution-style killing of at least 14 people during an attack on a bus carrying Shi'a Muslim pilgrims from Quetta to Iran on 28 June. The group was responsible for at least eight attacks across Pakistan, which claimed 49 lives.
  • Senior Awami National Party politician Bashir Ahmed Bilour and eight others were killed in a Pakistani Taliban suicide bombing in Peshawar on
  • 22 December as they left a political rally.

Freedom of expression

Journalists remained under serious threat from state security forces, armed opposition and other groups, particularly in Balochistan and Sindh provinces, and the north-west tribal areas. At least eight journalists were killed during the year. Several journalists claimed to have been threatened for reporting on the military, political parties or armed groups.